In My Opinion: What’s ahead for Florida during the next ACA open enrollment period

In your opinion, what kind of response do you think the upcoming Affordable Care Act open enrollment period (beginning November 15) will have in Florida?

“In my opinion, the upcoming open enrollment will be associated with a moderate increase in individuals enrolling in the plan.  There was early confusion for many who thought they wanted to enroll, then could not gain clarity in the process.  This was noted with online enrollment, and direct verbal communications with government personnel.  Most of these challenges have been addressed, bringing marked improvement in the mechanics of the system.  Individuals who are un-insured, and who now realize this does provide an avenue to receive medical coverage, are likely to pursue it when it is again available.  Particularly, patients with anticipated surgical needs of an urgent/semi-elective nature are now becoming aware this offers their best option.  Additionally, the system is remaining viable.  This will likely mean those who were initially skeptical will sign up.  Legislative attempts by Congress have not resulted in any major modifications in the general components of the plan.  It is now becoming a part of the ‘system,’ and all involved— that is patients, health administrators, and providers— are expected to gradually rely upon it.”

Dr. Glen A. Barden
Orthopedic Surgeon
Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine
Polk County Medical Association Member

“Regarding the new signup period for the ACA [Affordable Care Act], I am of the opinion that it probably will have no major impact on my clinical practice.  When the signup occurred last year at Gessler Clinic, we were unable to detect or track who had changed to the ACA.  One could assume that, with more people joining the ranks of the insured, we would have seen more patients (since they then had insurance).  But that did not happen.  Most of the long-term, chronic illness patients probably signed up last year.  I do not anticipate an increase in enrollment this year— despite involvement from some larger insurance companies.  As for the free health clinic, where I am medical director, we saw no decrease in our patient load after the ACA rollout last year.  I do not foresee any changes in this enrollment period that would decrease our patient load.”

Dr. Richard Honer
Colon-Rectal Surgeon, Gessler Clinic, Winter Haven
Medical Director, Angels Care, Eloise

“In my opinion, I believe Open Enrollment for the ACA (Federal Health Insurance Marketplace) will exceed last year’s number of enrollees.  Navigators and Certified Application Counselors are far more prepared to help consumers than we were at this time last year.  We have accumulated a year’s worth of experience under our belts, and are better equipped to deal with difficulties in the application process, as well as problem cases.  We expect announcements to be made public about which future insurance companies will be offering plans beginning Jan 1, 2015, along with details of their plan choices, and respective premium costs, before open enrollment.”

Jane Coyle-Hart
Certified Marketplace Healthcare Navigator (Affordable Care Act)
United Way of Central Florida, Lakeland

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